South Korea expands mandatory mask requirements amid spike in COVID cases

New Delhi (NVI): South Korea has expanded its mandatory mask policy to spas, wedding halls and other places as part of new social distancing rules aimed at preparing for a prolonged COVID-19 outbreak.

Currently, mask wearing is mandatory for 12 “high-risk” classes of venues, such as clubs, karaoke bars and internet cafes.

From November 7, these restrictions will be expanded to 23 types of places, which includes department stores, theme parks and hair salons.

While South Korea has managed to contain the COVID-19 spread better than many western nations, which are struggling with a resurgent virus, its daily new cases have risen above 100 in recent days.

The Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported 124 new cases as of midnight Saturday, marking a fifth consecutive day of infections topping 100 due to small clusters emerging in places such as spas, schools and churches.

South Korea on Sunday also announced a new five-tiered social distancing scheme, which replaces a three-level system. The more targeted approach to restrictions is designed to mitigate the impact of curbs on the economy, small businesses and people.

So far, South Korea has reported 26,635 coronavirus cases while the total number of fatalities stand at 466 in the country.